Rain hands Stewart another pole

For the second week in a row and for the third time this season, rain has given points' leader Tony Stewart pole position, this time for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway

Rain hands Stewart another pole

Qualifying for Saturday night's event was scheduled for Friday afternoon but rain halted Nationwide Series qualifying with only two cars left to complete their runs, and officials decided to allow time for the track to be dry in order to resume the session.

However, with the schedule being pushed back due to the wait and the Nationwide Series race planned for later in the evening, it was decided to cancel Sprint Cup qualifying.

As the NASCAR rulebook states, starting positions will be determined according to the owner standings, which basically mirrors the current state of the drivers' championship, at least for those in the top 28 positions.

Stewart had inherited pole positions due to rain at Pocono, Loudon and now at Daytona. He lost pole position at Pocono after switching to a back up car and last week he finished fifth after staring first in a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire.

The two-time champion, who has won at Daytona twice in the summer event, was one of the strongest during Thursday practice while running in the draft, and is among the favourites to take victory after running strong in January at the 2.5-mile speedway, when finishing eighth on his back up car.

Jeff Gordon, a six-time winner at Daytona will start from the front row for the seventh time this year, while his team-mate Jimmie Johnson will share the second row of the grid with Penske's Kurt Busch, who has reverted to the old version of the Dodge engine for this weekend.

David Reutimann had been fastest in the final practice session but he will start from the back of the grid after being forced to change the engine on his car after practice. David Ragan led the first practice session of the weekend and he will be starting the race from 31st.

Greg Biffle and Sam Hornish were involved in an incident also in the final practice, but none of them are expected to lose their initial starting position as they both planned to run the same engine from practice during the race.

Italian Max Papis and Mike Wallace will both miss Sunday's race as among the non-guaranteed drivers, they had the least number of qualifying attempts thus far.

Race line-up: Pos Driver Make 1. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 2. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 3. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 4. Kurt Busch Dodge 5. Carl Edwards Ford 6. Denny Hamlin Toyota 7. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 8. Kyle Busch Toyota 9. Greg Biffle Ford 10. Matt Kenseth Ford 11. Mark Martin Chevrolet 12. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 13. Kasey Kahne Dodge 14. David Reutimann Toyota 15. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 16. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 17. Brian Vickers Toyota 18. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 19. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 20. Casey Mears Chevrolet 21. Joey Logano Toyota 22. Jamie McMurray Ford 23. Elliott Sadler Dodge 24. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 25. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 26. Reed Sorenson Dodge 27. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 28. Bobby Labonte Ford 29. Michael Waltrip Toyota 30. AJ Allmendinger Dodge 31. David Ragan Ford 32. David Stremme Dodge 33. Paul Menard Ford 34. Robby Gordon Toyota 35. John Andretti Chevrolet 36. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 37. Scott Speed Toyota 38. David Gilliland Chevrolet 39. Joe Nemechek Toyota 40. Dave Blaney Toyota 41. Patrick Carpentier Toyota 42. Tony Raines Dodge 43. Regan Smith Chevrolet 
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